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Friday, July 3, 2015

Another Adventurous Graphic Novel for Girls!

There has been quite an increase in graphic novels avialalbe for girls.  Some of them, like Smile by Raina Telgemeier and the recent Caldecott Medal winning This One Summer are realistic fiction stories concentrating on relationships and coming of age struggles.  But for girls who like some swordplay or monster-battling mixed in with the stuff of life, this new graphic novel is worth taking a look at.

Pope, Paul; Petty, JT; Rubin, David (2014) The Rise of Aurora West.  New York:  First Second

Opening Lines:
"...spaces described by a falling body related as the square of the interval..."
"Are you about done with that homework, Aurora?
"Just about."
"When you finish, suit up and meet me in the weapons room."

In the pages of Paul Pope's Battling Boy, we met Aurora West, daughter of Haggard West, science hero and monster hunter in Arcopolis.  In this prequil, Aurora is still learning the ropes of monster hunting from her father when a dying henchman scratches a symbol in the dust that looks familiar to Aurora.  Soon she is trying to figure out the link it has with her own past (and her late mother).  At the same time, the monsters in Arcopolis seem to be working together, as if they were being guided by a leader, and it is up to Aurora and her father to figure out what.

The art is well done and exciting (though it is in black and white), the characters are interesting (Aurora's supporting cast includes a housekeeper/fight trainer who is missing a leg, a boy from school who Aurora ropes into helping her, and and imaginary friend who may not be so imaginary -- or so friendly) , and the story is gripping (though confusing in a few places).  Nothing much here that would cause the book to be challenges (though Haggard West uses the word "hell" a couple of time, I doubt this book would even get a PG-13 rating.)

Fourth graders and up would do fine with this book -- provided they are familiar with graphic novels and adventure stories.  Anyone unfamiliar with either of those will have a hard time.   Adventure lovers will enjoy a really great ride.

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